The Times Higher Education’s annual Student Experience Survey highlights a host of institutions bent on making the university experience first rate in every way.  Welsh institutions scored very well, taking three of the top 15 places. Aberystwyth University (eighth) led the field ahead of Swansea University (tenth) and Bangor University (15th).

The story and links to the tables are here:
http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=404989&c=2

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LILAC 2009 (The Librarians Information Literacy Annual Conference) will take place in Wales this year. The venue is Cardiff University, and the dates are 30 March to 1 April 2009.

This years conference themes are as follows:
* Inquiry based learning and IL
* Emerging technologies
* Information literacy for life
* Supporting research

Booking is now open: http://www.lilacconference.com/dw/index.html

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The Archives Hub Collection of the Month highlights The Welsh in Patagonia, a look at the founding of a Welsh-speaking settlement in Argentina in the mid-19th century. Elen Wyn Simpson, Assistant Archivist at Bangor University, has provided an introduction to the highlighted collections, and four striking photographs of the settlers. There are also links to related websites and some suggested reading.
http://www.archiveshub.ac.uk/jan09.shtml and http://www.archiveshub.ac.uk/jan09cym.shtml

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JISC’s annual review is now online. It documents a year of activity and accomplishment in JISC’s key spheres of interest. Including podcast interviews with outgoing Chair Sir Ron Cooke and JISC Executive Secretary Dr Malcolm Read, it also features an image gallery and a Year in View providing highlights of JISC’s work during the 2007-2008 academic year. 
http://www.jisc.ac.uk/aboutus/annualreview/2008.aspx

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As the findings of the final research assessment exercise are released, you will find results, analysis and reaction at:
http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=404786&c=2 and http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/rae

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An interesting report, Devolution and higher education: impact and future trends, has just been published by think tank Universities UK. The 60 page document critically examines the impact of political devolution on higher education policy. It compares the experiences and impact of the system in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Topics covered include the effect upon student participation rates, cross-border movements of students and the impact of the different financial regimes of university tuition fees upon student numbers and social backgrounds in the different regions.
http://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/Publications/Bookshop/Documents/
DevolutionAndHE.pdf

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CyMAL has announced the launch of the Museums, Archives, Libraries and Inspiring Learning grant schemes for 2009/10. Please note that CyMAL will not be distributing hard copies of the grant paperwork direct to services this year. All grant paperwork can be downloaded from the CyMAL website or hard copies are available on request from CyMAL. You can visit the CyMAL website at http://www.wales.gov.uk/cymal
Click on Grants 2009-10 to find application form, information for applicants and terms and conditions.

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We have enjoyed working with the Welsh Video Network to put on a series of events with authors across Wales. Using videoconferencing we have been able to link schools with FE and HE for an audience with Bethan Gwanas on 4 November, Mererid Hopwood on 18 November and Rachel Trezise on 9 December. One of our events had the honour of being the 2008th event during the 2008 National Year of Reading in Wales, and yesterday we were invited to the Assembly to meet Jane Hutt, Minister for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills. The photo shows Alison Walker from WVN, Sue Mace from WHELF and Gwerfyl Pierce Jones, Director of the Welsh Books Council, with the Minister:

yearofreading

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A year ago WHELF launched a new collaborative e-books service with OCLC. NetLibrary provides 85,000 Welsh students and National Library users with access to over 700 e-book titles.

The consortium has now been given representation on an International Advisory Board to work on future developments to NetLibrary e-books services. Steve Lee from the University of Glamorgan is our representative on the Board. Steve has asked all participating institutions to give responses to a questionnaire from NetLibrary regarding future developments to the e-books service in terms of platforms and other matters. Steve will be forwarding feedback to NetLibrary so that they have a collective Welsh view. There will be regular reports from Steve on any developments in services as these become clear.

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The WHELF Annual Report for 2007-2008 is now on the WHELF website.

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